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Group hopes to restore long-vacant Leon Godchaux High in Reserve

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- The old Godchaux Grammar school in Reserve on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014.

Efforts are underway to restore a nearly century-old high school building in St. John the Baptist Parish that has fallen into disrepair — a project that could cost close to $5 million. The two-story Leon Godchaux High School, near the intersection of West 10th Street and River Road in Reserve, has been sitting vacant since the… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish School Board unsuccessful so far in luring Recovery School District charters back

Coleman Ridley

If the Orleans Parish School Board wants to draw academically successful charter schools back into its folds, those sought-after schools have a bit of advice: Polish your sales pitch, and explain what’s in it for us. The board of Crescent City Schools, which operates three charter schools in New Orleans, last week chided an OPSB… Continue reading →

Judge says tax vote banners on N.O. public schools can stay up for now

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A group called

Orleans Parish School Board employees can no longer hang new signs at local campuses urging people to vote on an upcoming tax measure for public schools, but they do not have to take down existing signs, a judge ruled Tuesday. The signs don’t explicitly ask people to vote for the measure, but Civil District Court Judge… Continue reading →

Tulane gets $14.5 million gift to create Center for Social Innovation

Phyllis M. Taylor

Tulane University announced plans Monday to create a new center focusing on social innovation and entrepreneurship, using a nearly $15 million gift from the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation. The $14.5 million donation from Phyllis Taylor, the foundation’s chairwoman and a member of Tulane’s board, will go toward establishing the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation… Continue reading →

Most local charter school boards electing to stay in RSD

In the past couple of weeks, several charter school boards in New Orleans have had what, for some of them, is an annual discussion: whether to leave the state-run Recovery School District and return to the oversight of the Orleans Parish School Board. Four charter organizations have taken up the issue so far.… Continue reading →

Statue recalls young girl’s ordeal during desegregation of city’s schools

Advocate staff photo by ANDREA MABRY -- The statue of Ruby Bridges' likeness is unveiled at the school she integrated, formerly William Franz Elementary, now the Akili Charter School, on Friday, November 14, 2014. Bridges, who was the first black student at William Franz, stresses that although a lot has changed with race relations since she began school in 1960, there is still much more progress to be made.

Ruby Bridges, who became the public face of New Orleans school desegregation in 1960, now stands immortalized in bronze in the schoolyard of the institution she integrated a half-century ago. Flanked by her mother, her former teacher and one of the U.S. marshals who led her to school each day, Bridges was honored Friday with the… Continue reading →

Nearly 30 UNO degree programs could be ended or restructured

A working group of faculty at the University of New Orleans has recommended eliminating three degree programs and restructuring another 25 in a report that marks a key milestone in a review process designed to assess the financially hard-pressed school’s strengths and find ways to cut costs. Relying on criteria it developed, the faculty group scored… Continue reading →

Lagasse, Solomon family donate $2 million to NOCCA

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Emeril Lagasse Foundation and the Solomon family have partnered to award a major grant to the capital campaign for the NOCCA Forum. A ceremony was held in NOCCA's new building, a renovated warehouse on Press St.

By early next year, students at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts won’t have to take science classes in the jazz studio, and art classes can stop sharing their space with freshman humanities students. Lunch can move from the Chartres Street courtyard into a proper cafeteria just off the professional kitchen and restaurant that will… Continue reading →

Director of Cowen Institute resigns after retracting flawed report

John Ayers

A Tulane University institute that studies changes in public education in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina announced the resignation of its executive director Monday, weeks after retracting a study on the city’s public high schools. John Ayers’ resignation as director of the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives is effective Nov. 30.… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish School Board wins round in court against inspector general

New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux does not have the authority to audit the Orleans Parish School Board, the state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal has decided, reversing a lower court ruling in Quatrevaux’s favor. In a majority opinion released Friday, Judge Dennis Bagneris wrote that Quatrevaux’s jurisdiction extends only to “matters involving city… Continue reading →

Children’s Museum moving ahead with plans for new home in City Park

Childrens Museum unveils details of move to City Park.

The Louisiana Children’s Museum is on track to open a first-of-its-kind early childhood campus in New Orleans City Park by the end of 2017, park and museum officials have announced. Museum officials plan to sell their old building at 420 Julia St. and open the new campus, dubbed the Early Learning Village, in the Roosevelt Mall… Continue reading →

Drucker wins St. Tammany School Board Dist. 9 seat

Businesswoman Sharon Lo Drucker cruised to a victory in the only contested race for a seat on the St. Tammany Parish School Board, outpacing IT consultant Shane Hodgson 64 percent to 36 percent, according to complete but unofficial results from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website. Drucker earned 4,235 votes to 2,337 for Hodgson, the website shows.… Continue reading →

Drucker cruising in St. Tammany School Board Dist. 9 race

With five of 10 precincts reporting in the St. Tammany Parish School Board District 9 race, Sharon Lo Drucker had a commanding 65 percent of the vote, easily outpacing Shane Hodgson for the newly created seat. The two are vying to be the first representative of the newly created District 9 in and around Madisonville, which has… Continue reading →

Abita Springs student, his mother picked to be on ‘Project Runway’ show

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Tieler Garsaud, 14, is a contestant on Project Runway:Threads, a new Lifetime spinoff of the grown up Project Runway that features talented teens and preteens in high pressure fashion design competition. Tieler, who is from Abita Springs, is a theatre design student at NOCCA. His episode, shot in May, will air in November.

Tieler Garsaud, a 14-year-old theater design student at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, says he learned something surprising during his week as a contestant on “Project Runway: Threads,” Lifetime’s new program that puts budding young designers through the pressure familiar to fans of the adult version of the reality fashion show.… Continue reading →

La. Supreme Court dismisses suit over 7,000-plus post-Katrina school firings

Advocate file photo -- The Louisiana Supreme Court building, New Orleans.

The Louisiana Supreme Court has dismissed a class-action lawsuit challenging the firing of more than 7,000 public school employees in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina — a blow to the many teachers who still seethe over the way they were treated in the storm’s wake. The court’s 5-2 decision came as a surprise, reversing both the… Continue reading →

One Jefferson School Board member ordered to stay away from another

Michael Delesdernier

Jefferson Parish School Board member Michael Delesdernier has succeeded in securing a court order preventing board member Cedric Floyd from coming within 3 feet of him. Judge Nancy Miller, of 24th Judicial District Court, on Monday granted Delesdernier a preliminary injunction barring Floyd from approaching him. The injunction stems from a closed-door meeting held… Continue reading →

For Louisiana schools, an ever-evolving measure of success

Advocate file photo by BRYAN TUCK -- State Superintendent John White

For Louisiana’s long-suffering public schools, it often seems as though the goalposts are not just being moved but being rebuilt in all shapes and sizes. Schools have been under pressure to lift test scores and reduce dropout rates since the federal No Child Left Behind Act went into effect more than a decade ago. School performance… Continue reading →

N.O. charter head faces ethics charges

Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks (Image from

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has filed civil charges against Doris Hicks, a well-known New Orleans charter school leader, and three of her relatives after finding them in violation of state laws aimed at preventing nepotism. The board found that Hicks, CEO of the Friends of King Schools, broke two state laws in hiring immediate family members and… Continue reading →

Louisiana Board of Ethics files charges against Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks, 3 relatives

Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks (Image from

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has filed charges against Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks and three relatives after finding them in violation of state law aimed to prevent nepotism. The board determined Hicks violated two state laws for hiring immediate family members and signing checks made out to them, according to the complaint,… Continue reading →

Closing of 3 New Orleans-area schools to displace hundreds of students in 2015

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Holy Ghost School, in New Orleans, on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014.

Facing steady declines in enrollment, three New Orleans-area Catholic schools will close at the end of the current school year, a move that will send 507 children, their parents and about 50 faculty and administrators in Orleans, Jefferson and St. John the Baptist parishes looking for new elementary schools in 2015. Pastors with Holy Ghost School… Continue reading →

St. Tammany legislators tell Slidell crowd they’re committed to removing Common Core from classrooms

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  State Senator A.G. Crowe, center, addresses the audience during a forum on Common Core Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, at the Northshore Harbor Center near Slidell. More than 70 people attended the meeting, chaired by state Senator A.G. Crowe, and state representatives Kevin Pearson, left,  and John Schroder Sr., right, all of St. Tammany Parish.

Saying they hoped to generate enough grass-roots support to get rid of Common Core, three St. Tammany Parish legislators told a small crowd in Slidell on Wednesday night that they are committed to working to remove the controversial state standards from state classrooms. State Sen. A.G. Crowe, of Slidell, and Reps. Kevin Pearson, of Slidell, and… Continue reading →